My husband left to Tofino for his good friend's stag....good gosh! What did they get up to....well that's a secret but I'm so happy that the weather was prime for surfing and they rented a yurt, you know...those round little cabin things, which slept 5. Petty cool. Tod called me and said "I wish you were here! The guys are great but I would love to enjoy the scenery here with you!" Which made me feel great knowing he missed my company.

I was enjoying a bit of "me" time this weekend, however I did have the kids but it was nice having time alone with them. We made a ton of pizza and had left overs the next day for lunch. Then decided to call up my parents and I asked my mom to babysit so I could paint our enterywall Summerside blue. Mom came over and took the kids for a nice long walk. I wanted to repay the favour by cooking dinner for my parents. I prepped at home, then cooked there. My sister was able to join us too!

It's so nice being able to bring the kids over to my parents house. It was my home for 19 years! All of my childhood memories are there. Now I'm getting all nostalgic. It's truly a blessing, looking back on your life and being overwhelmed with gratitude for all you had.

My dad worked, and still does, out in camp and my mom was a stay at home mom until I was 19. Camp was close enough for my dad to come home every Wednesday night and weekends so we had lots of time together. We each had our own spots at the table, no elbows on the table, no chewing with our mouths open, we had to help clear the table after and we always ate meat with potatoes and salad. Which is what my dad wanted because that's how his mom fed him.

Oh man just thinking about their backyard brings back so many memories. We didn't have a fence and an amazing garden, like they do now, until I was around 13 years old. I remember climbing trees with the neighbour boys, Hans and Bjorn. I was at the top, climbing higher then them. I always tried to out school them at everything. I could hear them talking about me down below, making fun of me or just being boys...then I felt Hans grab the branch that I was standing on and then BANG, the lights were out. I had fallen out of the tree! I woke up with the wind knocked out of me. My chest was in a throbbing pain. I slowly stood up, I couldn't stop shaking and it was unbearably painful trying to inhale. I noticed I didn't have on my left shoe. I looked up and saw that it was still up in the tree. The boys ran home without saying bye and I slowly walked back to the house. Concussion #1.

It was a hot summer day and Bjorn, Sam, Hans (boys from the street) and I were jumping on the trampoline. We had it pushed close to our porch, which had a concrete path that went around it. We always played games and this one time they double bounced me so high that I honestly had no control of where I landed, which was between the springs. Lights out for me! I woke up to my mom, upside down, yelling at the boys to go home. Her face looked pale and in a panic. I kept blinking because I didn't understand what was going on. Why was mom upside down? I looked up and my leg was over the outer bar of the trampoline. I had fallen over the side and smacked my head on the concrete path, but thank god I was okay. My mom helped me down and assisted me inside. Concussion #2.

I was around 5 years old when my Auntie Frieda, God rest her soul, was baby sitting me. My brother was 2 year old, he was in the high chair eating. I wanted to play but Auntie Frieda was busy so I made my own fun. I grabbed a bench and placed it on the ledge of our rock fire place. It became a slide and went down in a number of times before I fell off. I hit my head pretty hard on the corner of the ledge. I remember a hot liquid running down between my eyes, down my nose and dripping off my chin. I grabbed a face cloth and looked at myself in the mirror. I was shocked but it was kinda cool at the same time. My aunt didn't have a car seat for my brother so she wasn't able to take me to the doctor, because clearly I needed stitches. So I called my Oma, my dad's mom, and she came to my rescue. She showed up to the house in 10 minutes, took me to the hospital and held my hand while I lay on the table. The doctor placed a thin cloth over my eyes, shielding my eyes from the bright operating lights while they gave me 3 stitches on my forehead. I remember it hurting and I remember hating every second of it but I held still and bared through the pain. After the nurse gave me got a lollipop, a colouring book, crayons and a balloon.  I felt so lucky! They were very nice to me. My grandma was the hero of the story. She came to my rescue and stayed calm, which kept me calm.

During my summer before grade 12 my parents went camping and I thought it would be a great idea to have a BBQ with my closest friends at home. I made water balloons, got some beer (more like borrowed my dad's beer), and drove to the store and got stakes, corn on the cob and made a large salad for all of us to share. My friends brought chips, dip and pop. We made veggie cabobs and had a great time, hanging out in our bathing suits, filling the hot  tub with soap so it would over flow with bubbles, and we threw water balloons at each other like little kids. I invited my best friend Kaihlee over. She came after the dinner was over, she invited her boyfriend, who pretty much invited the whole football team, who invited the whole high school. At one point I opened my front door and our lonnngggg drive way was full of kids from grade 11 and 12, who were coming to my house to party. YIKES! I slammed the door and locked it. I ran through the house to the back yard and noticed kids coming in through the fence! I shut the gate and said NO MORE PEOPLE~ I'M CALLING THE COPS! People that I never knew were talking to me, so I felt a bit cool but I saw kids stealing my parents booze out of their liquor cabinet and then threatened to call the cops again! Then one kid, in a drunken rage, smashed the shelf off the island in the kitchen, punched 2 holes in the wall in the laundry room, kicked the couch and then kicked the BBQ, which dented it. "I AM SO DEAD!" I thought. But luckily my friends helped me patch up the holes in the wall and I called my mom in the morning and told her the truth. How my BBQ got out of hand and I was sooo sorrry. I surprisingly didn't get in trouble. But I did have to empty and clean out the darn hot tub.....

My mom wanted the one boy in trouble but he apparently got in a drinking and driving accident and totalled his parents car a week later. Scary stuff!

Thinking of my childhood in this back yard reminds me of fun times as well, like putting the slip and slide down that hill! Tons of running through the sprinkler and putting it under the trampoline with soap. We weren't very safe! We were just kids having fun. My brother is 3 years younger then me, and my sister is three years younger then him. We always had all the neighbour kids over, playing hide and seek, tag, nicky nicky nine doors, red rover and soccer. We ate homemade popsicles  and had lemonade stands. Painted rocks and went door to door selling homemade paper air planes.

We played with super soakers, threw water balloons at each other and played in the sandbox until mom called us in for dinner and then we played again until she called us in for our bath. We grew up with 4 boys on the right and 2 girls on the left. Then 10 other kids from the neighbourhood came to play.

As I got older I would have sleep overs with my girl friends on the trampoline or in our family's trailer. We would walk to the nearest gas station and load up on bags full of candy, paid for with our allowance and chore money. We would get lost in the forest behind my parents house and get my mom worried sick about us. We would ride our bikes and roller blade through other neighbour hoods. And even when I got older and got a car, I would pick my friends up and we would tan in my parents back yard and jump on the trampoline.

Must be why I was so dead set on buying our kids a trampoline this year.

We had two dogs, brother and sister shelties, when I was born. Sadly years later they passed away. A couple years later we got Sandy who was pitbull, lab and rottweiler. She was too much for my mom to handle. She would bark and lunge at other dogs and my mom couldn't hold her back. So we had to give her away, sadly and then we got Jake. A small little cairn terrior, who was beige and looked like Toto! He was a cute dog that sometime nipped at us kids when he showed us who was boss. He lived to be 12 so we had many great years with him. Then a while later my mom decided to get Joey, who is a papillon, which is french for butterfly. We got him when I was 8 months pregnant. We drove down island to a breeder and he was the cutest one, He had one ear up and one ear down and we just couldn't resist his sweetness. He layed quietly on my baby belly the whole way home. Now he is a frisky friend! He loves giving kisses and playing with my dad in the yard. He loves socks and chew sticks. He is sooo soft and has two cute little brown patches above his eyes. He is so sweet and loving. A perfect puppy for the Tjart house.

My mom has always been a great gardener. I never helped her but just seeing her in her garden all those years gave me my drive to WANT to do it when I had my own house and garden to care for. A green thumb was handed down to me. I just love it all. Weeding, getting my hands in the dirt. Loving nature and all that God has created for us. It's so beautiful. I also love the quiet time. No kids, no rules, no responsibilities, just time with my thoughts.

In Ron Garner's book The Disease-Free Revolution, which is a great read by the way if you are looking to switch to a healthier lifestyle, he talks about how there are electrons in the soil that can recharge our electrical system. "And all we do is have to make contact with it" So no wonder so many people love gardening. It boosts our system!

Another memory that I treasure is one of my mom baking. She always had something cooling on the rack. Oatmeal cookies, banana bread, shortbread, muffins, and so many pies. Strawberry rhubarb and blackberry in the summer and pumpkin, pecan and lemon meringue in the fall. We used the dehydrator to make apple chips. She also made pizza dough, white buns, cinnamon buns and bread from scratch. Then for Christmas, oh man don't even get me started, mom would go NUTSO! Baking for friends, family and later on, her co-workers. Nanaimo bars, white chocolate covered hay stacks (pretzels and peanuts), jam jams, chocolate fudge, peanut butter bon bons, rum balls, sugar cookies, and the list goes on and on. I guess that's where I get my love for baking! Thanks mom!

Every holiday, every special occasion, birthday, going away party, girls night or get together was always held at my parents house. My mom is an amazing host. She would cook for 25+ people during our busiest holiday - Thanksgiving, which is right around the corner. SO EXCITED!! I always love to bring my versions of traditional dishes, like my vegan stuffing (for my vegan sister), my raw pumpkin cheese cake, my mashed yam dish with mapled pecans on top, and other fun dishes. My mom orders a very large organic free range turkey from our friend's farm. We have at least three different salads, two kinds of potatoes, Oma brings her homemade buns, and mom always makes Tod's fave, roasted veggies, in coconut oil and rosemary. There are always picked beets and pickles, it's a Danish thing.

My most favourite tradition is at Christmas time. We have a huge family dinner at my parents house, As a child it was so comforting, sitting around the fire, stuffed with delicious food, playing games with the family and telling favourite old stories. 

We ate a large turkey dinner with all the fixins, followed by tea or coffee, then we would put on our winter coats and dash out the door to make it in time for church. Which wasn't my favourite part because I was always in the children's play, playing the part of Mary, Jesus' mom or of an angel who had to speak lines and I'm not very fond of public speaking. I remember once I forgot my lines and I just stared out in the crowd. I looked at my mom for help but she just had a scared look on her face, then she mouthed the lines and helped me get through my speech. We would always get a paper bag full of candies, peanuts, a candy cane and a manadarin orange. We would pile back into the car, turn on the radio and sing Christmas songs and drive home in the snow. My mom then starts the Danish part of Christmas, which was open faced sandwiches. Yes, we ate AGAIN! The bread was a rye bread or a white bun, topped with shredded picked beat, turkey, ham or shrimp, cheese, pickles, macaroni salad, or salmon. They were all so good. Then mom would bring out all the treats that I talked about above. Talk about being full. I ate all the After Eights. I would sneak back in the room multiple times, taking 1, then 2, then three, then my cousins would ask me to bring them back a couple, until they were all gone. 

The fire place would be roaring and we would play card and board games and just laugh and laugh. Then it was time to open our stalking stuffers from our relatives. We played while the adults drank wine. Then when everyone went home we sat down as a family and listened to Christmas music until we were all too tired, then head off to bed. My mom and dad always put out milk and cookies for Santa (even though they told us right from the get go that Santa wasn't real. My mom didn't want Santa stealing baby Jesus' thunder). Then Christmas morning would include my brother and sister jumping on me, waking me up to go open presents. The whole house smelt like coffee and cinnamon buns. Mom and dad would still be in their house coats and we would open gifts. One at a time until the house was full of wrapping paper. We turned into zombies with our gifts and then we would always have my Oma and Opa over for lunch. We always had a seafood chowder with shrimp quiche and a spinach salad. Then Boxing day was dinner at my Oma and Opa's house and the next day was dinner at my Auntie Frieda's. Boy were the holidays are busy! Now we bring our kids over to my parents house to enjoy that time. Even Tod's parents come over to celebrate. I love our family.

Food has been a bit of an issue since we started eating healthy. I try to encourage people to at least try my food. My parents are always game and I love getting them to try my new desserts and my dad, being as sweet as he is, always says "I think this one was better then the last one!" and Tod's dad always asks for seconds. In fact he says we can't come over unless I bring dessert. haha and after dinner we always feel great. We play games and listen to the kids tell stories. We eat popcorn and relax on the couch until everyone goes home. We try to have family dinners with my parents or Tod's parents at much as possible.

At my parents house tonight I wound up making gluten-free focaccia bread with a basil garlic and parsley pesto, then avocado, tomato and fried bell pepper with an over-easy egg. Cubed seasoned sweet potatoes and a spinach salad on the side with my homemade dressing. It was delish! We had a great talk at the table and Kyri sat like a big kid in a grown up chair. She's so funny. She loves to say PLEASE after every bite. "She's so happy when she eats, just like her grandma," said Grandpa

I wanted to treat my mom so I did all the dishes and then we had popcorn and watched Finding Nemo! Kyri can't stop saying NEMO now! He's her new best friend.

Seth stayed and grandpa and grandpa's for a sleep over and Kyri and I headed home around 8:30. Had a quick dance to some Bob Marley, when I got Kyri ready for bed. We had some quiet time and then I fed her and put her to sleep. She was exhausted and so was I. But since Tod was gone to Tofino I had extra time to edit these photos, organize old pictures and read some of my favourite blogs. It was nice! Then we woke up at 8 am on Sunday morning, no alarm set. Started the day off with lemon water and got ready for a great day with our church family.

I love all my memories, whether they are big or small, fun or not so fun. All those memories make me who I am today. Thanks Mom and Dad!


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